Rattling the World's Largest Drum
Jarrett Fischer (Junior; Farm Management; Cory, IN) started off college with one priority (well one of many) to make as many memorable experiences as possible because, for most, college only happens once. That philosophy is what motivated him to join the Reamer Club and become a Boilermaker Special pilot. But after a couple years, that desire to experience it all had Jarrett wanting to branch out even more. Do something different, meet new people.
Reamer club members are required to learn all about Purdue's traditions (there's a quiz and an online study guide) and one stuck out to Jarrett - the
World's Largest Drum and the duties of its drum crew. After learning about the crew, Jarrett knew he had to join.
"The World's Largest Drum crew always looked like they were having fun on the football field and it would get me involved in the Marching Band," said Jarrett. After some research, he was surprised to learn that the auditions did not require any experience with music which is what ultimately sold him on the idea to tryout. Auditions cover three days and members are selected based on their ability to memorize the drum's 99-year storied history, drum handling, passing the Air Force's ROTC physical, public speaking, and most importantly a positive attitude. During the first week of band camp,
before the crew is even selected, the crew learns how to maneuver the 565-pound drum as well as some basic tricks. Crew members have many responsibilities. It takes a lot to properly maintain a nearly 100-year old drum to make sure it is in good condition for all halftime shows.
"A lot of my favorite memories with the crew involve some of our traditions. Friday nights before the football games, we have a tradition of always eating out at Applebee's and sitting in the same booth every time with a mural of the drum. Another perk of joining the crew is that we make our own beaters to hit the drum with. We start out with just a shovel handle, some tape, and yarn and after 15-20 hours and a whole lot of sanding we end up with our own custom beaters that we get to keep to remember our time with the crew. I also really enjoy all the different fan interactions we have at the south end zone patio during football games. My favorite two interactions were being able to talk with the A-10 Warthog Pilots that performed the flyover at one of the games. Then at the Vanderbilt game President Daniels joined us on the field to perform 28 pushups after a touchdown."
I have definitely enjoyed my time with the drum crew and joining was one of the best decisions I have made at Purdue. I would recommend this group to anyone that wants to be involved with one of Purdue's oldest icons. With that being said, the Drum Crew is a big commitment and takes a lot of hard work. As on weeks with home football games, we will spend approximately 25 hours rehearsing and performing together. Then after the Marching Band season ends we will still do events around Purdue and the local community such as my personal favorite Boo at The Zoo in Lafayette. This group has given me many experiences that not many people get to have. Being on the crew is an honor and I am fortunate to have had this opportunity," Fischer concluded.